How Do I Measure ROI On SEO?
To better understand how clients measure ROI on SEO and how industry professionals wish they would, we gathered insights from ten experts, including CEOs, digital marketers, and agency founders. From focusing on customer lifetime value to combining quantitative and qualitative metrics, these experts share their perspectives on the most effective ways to measure SEO ROI.
- Focus on Customer Lifetime Value
- Use Data to Support Conclusions
- Prioritize KPIs
- Adopt a Holistic Approach
- Evaluate SEO Comprehensively
- Target MQLs
- Select Relevant Metrics
- Embrace Long-Term SEO Impact
- Shift Focus to Leads and Sales
- Combine Quantitative and Qualitative Metrics
Focus on Customer Lifetime Value
Clients often continue to measure success by page views or “likes” and “shares” and other ego boosts instead of by true return on investment: how much has their profit increased – including the lifetime value of each new customer/client.
For example, if a dentist spends $100 on Facebook ads to gain one new client for teeth cleaning—that may seem like an insignificant gain or even a loss. But, how many more dental visits is that one patient going to go to that dentist for over their lifetime, and they will probably bring their spouse and kids to that dentist, possibly referring friends and coworkers as well.
That is the true “lifetime value” of that one client. Ad spend can earn years of recurring revenue from multiple new clients or customers—not just that one cleaning.
Digital Marketer / Project Manager
Use Data to Support Conclusions
Far too many of my clients know that SEO is important, but they don’t really understand how it works. They often use the general state of the business as a measurement of how well SEO is working.
This is less than ideal. I wish they paid greater attention to KPIs, which for most of them should be related to position tracking and the number of keywords they’re ranking for. Tracking organic traffic growth is also extremely important. I want clients to assess ROI based on real data. Their gut feelings are not data.
Most of my clients measure ROI by comparing the revenue generated from SEO with the total cost invested in the SEO campaign, but I want my clients to measure ROI on the basis of KPIs. KPIs stands for Established Key Performance Indicators, and KPIs include organic search traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rate, and revenue generated from SEO.
Adopt a Holistic Approach
Clients measure SEO ROI through metrics like organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and revenue/sales growth. They can enhance measurement by considering factors such as customer lifetime value (LTV), customer acquisition costs (CAC), brand visibility, and user experience (UX) metrics.
Ideally, clients should take a holistic approach to measuring SEO ROI by combining short-term metrics with broader business goals. This involves considering metrics like LTV, CAC, brand visibility, and UX metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of the true value and impact of SEO strategies.
By adopting this approach, clients can make data-driven decisions, optimize their SEO efforts effectively, and achieve better long-term results.
Evaluate SEO Comprehensively
Tracking the increase in organic traffic to the website is a fundamental metric to assess the effectiveness of SEO efforts. Tools like Google Analytics can provide insights into the volume and quality of organic traffic.
If clients are running paid search campaigns alongside SEO, they can compare the performance of SEO-generated organic traffic with paid traffic to assess the return on ad spend. This allows them to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of SEO in comparison to paid advertising. While these metrics provide valuable insights into SEO performance, it’s also important for clients to consider the long-term impact and indirect benefits of SEO, such as brand visibility, credibility, and customer engagement.
Ideally, I wish clients would take a holistic approach to measuring ROI on SEO. It would also be beneficial for clients to consider factors like customer lifetime value, customer retention, and overall business growth attributed to increased online visibility and organic traffic.
At our agency, clients measure ROI on SEO through a calculation based on the value of an SEO-generated Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). We determine the number of MQLs required during the campaign to meet the agreed-upon ROI threshold.
If we don’t achieve the target, clients are eligible for a full refund. We offer this ROI guarantee to demonstrate our commitment to delivering tangible results. It’s important to note that our ROI guarantee is selectively available through an invite-only process, as we maintain strict criteria to ensure a successful outcome for both parties.
Select Relevant Metrics
The best way for clients to measure ROI on SEO is by tracking website traffic, leads and sales, and brand awareness. Clients can get a complete picture of the impact that SEO is having on their business.
As an SEO consultant, I would like clients to measure ROI in a way that is meaningful to them. For some businesses, the most important metric is website traffic. For others, it is leads and sales. And for still others, it is brand awareness. The important thing is to choose the metrics that are most important to your business and to track them over time so that you can see how SEO is impacting your bottom line.
Embrace Long-Term SEO Impact
Clients often measure ROI on SEO through various metrics and indicators demonstrating the immediate effectiveness and impact of their search engine optimization efforts. Some common methods include tracking organic search traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and revenue generated from organic search.
However, I wish clients would instead consider a broader, more long-term approach. While immediate metrics like traffic and rankings are important, they don’t always capture the full value of SEO. I encourage clients to look beyond short-term gains and focus on the overall impact of SEO on their business.
This can include significant improvements in brand visibility, customer trust, market share, customer lifetime value, referral traffic, and big influences on other marketing channels.
By taking a broader perspective and recognizing the long-term benefits of SEO, clients can make more informed decisions and fully appreciate the value it brings to their business.
Shift Focus to Leads and Sales
Before working with us, our clients primarily focused on organic visitors in general, as they lacked event tracking setup. This approach left them somewhat in the dark, operating without a clear understanding of their website’s performance. However, since implementing a robust tracking system, we’ve ushered in a new era of clarity and insight.
Nowadays, their attention is squarely fixed on the leads and sales generated through organic traffic in Google Analytics 4. This metric has become their North Star, guiding their decision-making and providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. To facilitate their reporting needs and streamline the process, we’ve introduced Looker Studio as a reliable and user-friendly reporting solution.
By closely monitoring the conversion rate, we ensure that all our efforts are channeled toward maximizing the number of visitors who convert into paying customers.
Combine Quantitative and Qualitative Metrics
Generally, clients measure ROI on SEO through various aspects such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and revenue generated from organic searches.
In my point of view, I wish that clients should measure ROI on SEO not just by focusing only on quantitative metrics, but also by considering qualitative factors such as brand visibility, user engagement, and overall online presence. Moreover, it’s crucial for clients to assess the long-term impact of SEO efforts on customer retention and lifetime customer value.
Additionally, for any client, ROI measurement should involve both long-term and short-term benefits to get a more holistic view of the value generated by SEO strategies.
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